Upstates Thrilling Theme Parks

Zoom Flume Water Park in E. Durham has added Typhoon Twister recently.
Zoom Flume Water Park in E. Durham has added Typhoon Twister recently.

That’s where the action takes place during the season

By Deborah Jeanne Sergeant

Water slide at Darien Lake in Darien Center.
Water slide at Darien Lake in Darien Center.

Whether you love the stomach-dropping thrill of rollercoasters, rides with more whirling and twirling, or soaking-wet water rides, you can find plenty of excitement at Upstate’s many theme parks.

If water rides are your ticket to a good time, go to Old Forge’s Enchanted Forest Water Safari, touted as the state’s largest water park with 31 heated outdoor water rides. In addition, the park has carnival rides like Scrambler, Tilt-O-Whirl, sky ride and an arcade. Overnight guests can select from among tent camping sites, RV camping sites, cottages, cabins or hotel guest rooms and suites. The website features discounted packages.

• Enchanted Forest Water Safari, 3183 Route 28, Old Forge. 315-369-6145. www.watersafari.com.

While it lacks the huge, scream-inducing rides, Fulton’s Thunder Island Amusement Park still has a lot to offer, such as its 60-foot Ferris wheel, zip line and six water rides. The park also has go-karts, miniature golf and an arcade. Guests may bring in their own food for a picnic and purchase either a blanket pass or pay per attraction. These features make Thunder Island a great choice for families on a budget.

• Thunder Island Amusement Park, 21 Wilcox Road, Fulton. 315-598-8016. www.thunder-island.com.

Sylvan Beach Amusement Park in Sylvan Beach has a retro vibe with an old-time amusement park on the beach with carnival-scale rides, bumper boats, miniature golf, carnival games and a vintage arcade. For children who want to ride all the rides and then ride them all again, the all-day wrist band is the best deal.

• Sylvan Beach Amusement Park, 112 Bridge St., Sylvan Beach. www.sylvanbeachamusementpark.com.

Between Buffalo and Rochester, visit Darien Lake Amusement Park for not only its several coasters, but also rides. SkyScreamer is one of its most recent installations, new in 2019. It’s like the classic swing ride, but it soars to 242 feet in the air as it circles. Darien Lake also offers stage shows, an entire water park inside the park, splash pad, lazy river, wave pool, and games. For most shows, guests receive complementary, same-day park admission. Overnight guests can select from campsites, RV rental, cabin, guest house, glamping site or hotel room.

• Darien Lake Amusement Park and Resort, 9993 Allegheny Road, Darien Center. 585-599-4641. www.darienlake.com.

Rochester’s Seabreeze Amusement Park celebrates the 100th anniversary of its Jack Rabbit coaster, touted as the oldest continuously-operating coaster in the nation. The Jack Rabbit pioneered under-friction wheels, a feature that allows coasters to run faster. Though smaller than Darien Lake, Seabreeze operates a nice combination of dry and water rides, a splash area, lazy river, body flume and wave pool.

• Seabreeze Amusement Park, 4600 Culver Road, Rochester. 585-323-1900. www.seabreeze.com.

Zoom Flume Water Park in E. Durham has added Typhoon Twister, a bowl-style waterslide for one to two riders, as well as a dozen other water rides and features, plus live entertainment.

• Zoom Flume Water Park, 20 Shady Glen Road, E. Durham. 518-239-4559. www.zoomflume.com.

At Queensbury’s Six Flags Great Escape, the Adirondack Outlaw ride opens for the first time in 2020. The ride flings and flips guests on its pendulum at speeds of up to 50 mph at the highest point of the park. The park has a dozen water rides and features, live entertainment, and special events. Look for lodging and package deals on the park’s website.

• Great Escape, 1172 state Route 9, Queensbury. 518-792-3500. www.sixflags.com/greatescape.

Photo: Zoom Flume Water Park in E. Durham has added Typhoon Twister recently.

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